It was roughly three years ago when I stepped into product management from an engineering role. If you want to read about my journey, you can reference the ‘blog series’ I wrote here. When I became a PM, I knew it would be the only job I’d ever want, aside from starting a company. Today, I started the job that I’ve genuinely always wanted… co-founder and CEO of a startup.
It all started when I was probably eight or so years old. My brother and I would go around the neighborhood and ask people if we could cut their grass. Then came the fall, and we would offer to clean up their leaves. When the snow hit, we would shovel their driveways. We were running a nice little business, and it was awesome getting paid by someone else for your hard work. All while your friends were sitting inside playing video games.
My first business lesson
When my brother went off to college, I ‘took over.’ I’ll never forget, my first new customer was the corner house in the neighborhood. There were tens of trees and leaves everywhere. I knew I had hit the jackpot. I ‘hired’ a couple of friends, and we cleaned up the yard. It took three full days and nights to get this yard cleaned up. Then, when we were all finished, the homeowner asked how much? I was about to say $75. My friend said how about $20? The homeowner jumped at it and handed us a $20 bill. I was livid. I just worked so hard for three days, and after splitting it, I made $8 ($6 to the other two that helped me). I had to pay my dad $3 for gas (thanks, dad), so I ended up with $5. My friend felt bad asking for more money. It should go without saying, but that friend never helped me again.
As the years went on, I had other side hustles (computer building/repair business, consulting, to-do list app, etc.). The goal of those was to ‘have something on the side,’ never to take it on full-time. But I’ve always wanted to go off and try to build something full-time. The goal out of college was to get a job, save some money, learn, and then leave to start a company within two years. Well, it took me four additional years, but I’m finally here.
The start of a new journey
Today, I fully made the transition from PM and part-time CEO, to full-time startup CEO. Well, I am ‘CEO’ of nothing, really. We have a team of three (including me), a beta, and our first investment. My role will change drastically over the weeks, months, and years (hopefully we get there). I am nervous, scared, and beyond excited all at the same time.
So what do you do one ‘Day 1’ as a full-time startup CEO? Well today, my to-do list consists of:
- Weekly planning with the team
- Make company profiles on LinkedIn, Crunchbase, and Angel’s List
- Send out a monthly update to investors and followers
- Prep for a call with XXX around pricing strategy
- Finish application for business credit card
- Test new features before we roll them out to the beta users
- Find channels to promote public beta of our product
- Deploy a new company blog platform
I’ll continue to write about my thoughts and experiences as a CEO through this journey, how I maintain a healthy relationship with my wife, how I stay healthy, how I make sure there is ‘me time,’ and whatever else related.
If you’re reading this during the current coronavirus pandemic, I wrote a blog post in March around quitting my job right before the pandemic hit.